Advice, Baby Childcare, Child, Childcare & Education, New Parents, Toddler

Everything you need to know before hiring your next babysitter

As much as you cherish your little ones dearly, sometimes you just need a little bit of “me” time. Whether it be precious time with your partner to go out for a romantic meal, or that much-needed hair appointment, from time to time you will need somebody to watch your child or children. Not all of us have an endless number of friends and family at hand, ready and waiting to watch your little munchkins. So what do you do in this situation? You find yourself a trusty, reliable and responsible babysitter.

What is a babysitter?

A babysitter is an individual, usually over the age of 16, whom you hire to watch your child(ren) when you need to take time to attend social events or appointments. The babysitter is hired to watch over your children and keep them safe and entertained while you are away for a few hours.

Babysitter vs. nanny – what is the difference?

As mentioned previously, a babysitter is generally somebody who can be called upon on an as-needed basis, they may either come to your house to look after your children or you may be able to drop the children off at their house. Babysitters, more often than not, have a number of parents that may call upon their services at any one time and it is up to them to manage and set out their availability.

A nanny, on the other hand, tends to be a person that will work just for your family and they will spend an extended amount of time with your children. If you work full time or spend a lot of time away from home, you will need a nanny to cook, pick the children up from school, and spend some time with them. In the event that you are an extremely busy individual who requires 24/7 care for your children, then it is recommended to hire a live-in nanny.

Good signs of a great babysitter

As with any type of service, a great way to tell how good your babysitter may be is typically through word of mouth. Perhaps the individual has been recommended to you by friends or you have sought out good reviews for them online. The type of experience that others have had with them will be key in knowing whether they are up for the job or not. Another type of recommendation is to view the babysitter’s resume or reference. Many good babysitters would be happy to provide these upon request.

It is always useful when a babysitter has first-hand experience with children. If the babysitter has never been around children for lengthy periods of time it can be quite daunting. Experience is definitely important.

Before hiring a babysitter, it is extremely important that you meet them and conduct an interview. A good babysitter should be more than comfortable with the interview and be able to answer any questions you may have.

Remember they should also meet your child or children and establish a good rapport with them. If you feel that the babysitter is not a good fit to babysit your child(ren), it is best to look for a better, more qualified babysitter.

A good babysitter means you are comfortable and at ease with a stranger to take good care of your child(ren) without the constant need to worry or to have any fear.

How to prepare for a stranger in your house

As much as you may feel a little uneasy about a stranger being in your house, remember that they too may be nervous about their new environment. It is a great idea to do everything you can to make the new babysitter feel at home.

You could start by giving them a tour around the house to ensure they know all of the key areas. This can also be a time to point out anything that may be off-limits, such as your own bedroom or study area.

In addition to a guided tour, be sure to provide them with an emergency contact information. This should include your contact information, such as your mobile phone number and email, and also include contact details of an alternative person. Note down the location of your first aid supplies as well as the nearest hospital. If your children suffer any allergies or need any medication be sure to make note of this information as well.

It is ideal to make sure that the house is clean and welcoming for the babysitter. Preparations should also be made on the food front. Make sure to talk to the babysitter and check if they are able to cover the mealtime and cook for the children.

Your children’s comfort is important. However, remember that your babysitter has needs too. Discuss these needs with them in order to make them feel comfortable. The happier your babysitter is with the job, the better for you and your children.

Old or young babysitter – what to expect from each

Babysitters will come to you from a wide age range. The ideal minimum age is 16 and there is no maximum age.

The age of your chosen babysitter can make quite a difference in how they may deal with your children while you are away from them.

This is not a general rule, but usually, a younger babysitter is more likely to be a little more laid back and less structured with your children, especially if they have no experience dealing with children. They may be less strict or attentive purely just because they don’t tend to have had children themselves yet. Some younger babysitters may be great fun and get really stuck into playing with your children, but you should also watch out for those who are just glued to their phone or the TV and play little to no attention to what is going on around them. A perfect way to do this would be to use an indoor security camera aka “Nanny Cam”. Our personal favorite that we ended up choosing is the Amazon cloud cam and it by far exceeds our expectations but also lacks some other things we just wish it was able to do. Check this article out for our full review. (we’ll add the link later on)

In general, older babysitters tend to have more experience in tending to children, typically because they raised children of their own, or have had a lengthy career in working with children (i.e. teachers, coaches, counselors, therapists)

There are pros and cons to both old and younger babysitters and you really should choose based on the person and how you feel about them as opposed to their age.

What to do if your babysitter is late or does not show at all

This is a parents nightmare. Imagine you’re late for work and your babysitter hasn’t shown up yet.

One thing that can really aid this type of problem is to ensure that you are absolutely crystal clear on your requirements when you hire a babysitter. Make sure to confirm the dates and times with your babysitter. Always follow up with a text or email confirming what you have previously discussed. Hire them by borrowing loans from

Should your babysitter be late on an occasion, try to stay calm when they arrive. Becoming agitated or angry may affect the overall experience that your babysitter has with your children once you leave.

Instead, broach the situation calmly. Let your babysitter know that tardiness will not be tolerated in future and any further instances will result in you ceasing to use their services again.

Worse than lateness, maybe your babysitter just doesn’t show at all. You could make preparations with them prior to any events to arrange a backup babysitter, perhaps one of their friends that you have previously met and approved.

Final hints and tips

In addition to these main points, you may wish to consider the following:

  • Preference should be taken over those babysitters who have completed a first aid course or who have an official first aid or childcare qualification. The experience offered by these individuals will by far outweigh those who have no knowledge in this area.
  • Ensure that your babysitter is clear on any routines that your child has. Discuss things such as meal times, bedtimes, preferred food and also any toileting needs.
  • Make sure that everybody knows what is expected. Layout guidelines for your babysitter for dealing with conflict especially if you have multiple children. Explain or talk through with the babysitter how they will handle difficult situations in handling your child(ren)..

In following these handy guidelines and advice you can be sure to rest easy knowing all is as well while you spend that much needed time away from the kids.

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